Lockheed contracts, shipments impacting North Texas

Gray Wolf will operate in highly contested environments, and will be capable of collaborative, networked "swarming" behaviors to address air-defense system threats. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed has received several contracts and made several announcements that impact the North Texas area, including the Fort Worth plant.

Shortly after receiving a $945-million modification contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, Lockheed Martin Corp. announced Dec. 28 it has received a $110 million contract to develop Gray Wolf, a low-cost, subsonic cruise missile. Most of the work for that project will occur at Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control Division based in Grand Prairie.

The Gray Wolf missiles will use open architectures and modular design to allow for rapid prototyping and “spiral growth capabilities,” according to a Lockheed news release. The Air Force Research Laboratory is developing the missiles to feature networked, collaborative behaviors (swarming) to address Integrated Air Defense (IAD) system threats around the world. The Gray Wolf missile design will allow for maximum mission flexibility, according to the news release.

“Lockheed Martin’s concept for the Gray Wolf missile will be an affordable, counter-IAD missile that will operate efficiently in highly contested environments,” said Hady Mourad, Advanced Missiles Program director for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Using the capabilities envisioned for later spirals, our system is being designed to maximize modularity, allowing our customer to incorporate advanced technologies such as more lethal warheads or more fuel-efficient engines, when those systems become available.”

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The Gray Wolf program consists of four spiral-development phases that allow for rapid technology prototyping and multiple transition opportunities. This first phase, defined by an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, is anticipated to run until late 2019. Initial demonstrations will be from an F-16 aircraft. In addition to the F-16, the system will be designed for compatibility with F-35, F-15, F-18, B-1, B-2 and B-52 aircraft.

The PAC-3 missiles contract was awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command. The work on that project will be carried out in Grand Prairie; Lufkin; Camden, Arizona; Chelmsford, Massachusetts; Ocala, Florida; Huntsville, Alabama and Huntington Beach, California, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2021.

On Dec. 15, Lockheed Martin delivered the 66th F-35 aircraft for the year, meeting the joint government and industry delivery target for 2017.

To date, more than 265 F-35 aircraft have been delivered to U.S. and international customers. More than 530 pilots and nearly 5,000 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 115,000 cumulative flight hours.

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“Meeting our 2017 delivery commitment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our joint government and industry team to deliver the transformational F-35 air system to the warfighter,” said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-35 Program General Manager Jeff Babione. “The team continues to overcome program challenges and achieving this milestone gives our customers confidence that the F-35 enterprise can deliver on the increasing production quantities year-over-year.”

The 66 F-35 deliveries in 2017 represents more than a 40 percent increase from 2016, and the F-35 enterprise is prepared to increase production volume year-over-year to hit full rate of approximately 160 aircraft in 2023.

To prepare for an increase in production, Lockheed Martin has hired more than 1,300 employees at its Fort Worth facility since January 2017, and expects to hire a total of 1,800 as previously announced.